Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? I tried starting one this winter. Inspired by ‘Creative Gangster of Love’ and business-advice guru Marie Forleo, the idea was to go to bed a little early, and write down ten or so things I was grateful for that day.
The truth is it did feel good to reflect on things like trees, the food in my fridge, Joe’s patience, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (these items are straight out of my lists), but…
a) I’m not good at getting into bed early
b) My other notebook ran out, so I ended up using the ‘gratitude’ notebook for all my lists, ideas, and work-related notes. The gratitude got lost in the to-do’s. (Hmm, that seems like a metaphor for the modern world, doesn’t it? Totally accidental!)
Anyway, I’ve decided to resurrect the practice, but in a new form, here on the blog. Because it’s good to take stock, right? To look at the big picture of your life, and then hone in on a few shiny details that make your heart grow. Experiments done in the last few years showed that people who wrote down just five things they were grateful for each week felt happier and more optimistic within two months, versus those who didn’t. What a simple way to cultivate a more positive mindset!
So, this is my first monthly Love Note. They will appear here the last week of every month. (This one’s a touch early, just because.)
I’m not gonna lie, May 2013 hasn’t been my favourite May in the history of all Mays. My visa to move to the U.S. and marry Joe is taking longer than we anticipated, and I’m frustrated by the waiting. I miss him, and I miss him making me coffee in the morning. (Kidding…)
Also, my colitis has flared up, which makes my insides very, very sore. Therefore, my mood and energy level has been a little up and down.
BUT! I have a hell of a lot to give thanks for this month too. So here is my Love Note list. I’m so grateful for:
♥ Seeing a flock of 8 Canada geese float on the glassy waters of Waskesiu Lake at dusk. In total silence.
♥ Hangouts, dinners, and red wine with my dad and stepmom, who have been endlessly generous and welcoming while I’m staying with them.
♥ Leaves finally appearing on the elm trees in Saskatoon. One morning last week, they were just suddenly there. Green at last!
♥ Finding out the first step of our visa has been approved. (Bureaucracy, you may be slow, but at least you’re moving…).
♥ A picnic in the park with my cousin Heather and her two cuties Liam (almost 3) and Hadley (8 months), complete with blanket, cheese and crackers, fruit salad, and Hadley chasing ladybugs.
♥ American Idol on Wednesday nights! Have you seen this performance of The Cure’s “Lovesong” by winner Candice Glover? It’s incredible. (I’ve never really watched Idol before, but I got addicted. It’s just fun.)
♥ My awesome girlfriends. They are planning a little gathering for me this summer, and I am so touched.
♥ Another skype movie date with Joe. We watched Beasts of the Southern Wild. The narrative was a little loose for my taste, but it’s beautifully shot and scored, and you can’t help but fall for the resilience of little Hushpuppy, played by then-six-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis. Also, did you know that Dwight Henry, the lead who plays Hushpuppy’s father, had never acted before? He owns a bakery in New Orleans, where the film was shot, and decided to audition. Life-changing decision.
♥ Messages from my 19-year-old sister Abby that say things like “Getting up at 2:30 a.m. to hike Mt. Batur and watch the sunrise from the top.” She’s in Indonesia right now, backpacking like a champ.
This is her on the island Gili Trawangan, where I was with Joe this time last year, when she was in Saskatoon. We’ve done a switch! How did this happen? (Seriously though, I’m a proud big sister. And only a tiny bit envious…)
There you have it, my love note to the month. Thank you, May 2013. For all of it.
What do you think about making gratitude a practice? Is it something you do? Any tricks for keeping it going or making it extra cool? Let me know in the comments…
Also, want to start a monthly love note along with me?
p.s. Try out these seven words for an instant mind re-boot.
(Top photo from glad.is)